Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I have a bag of frozen shrimp in my freezer. I bought them last year to give to my Dad on Father's Day, and he came several times to visit over the summer & fall and I kept forgetting to actually give him the bag of shrimp. Such are my good intentions, I bought them in time, just never followed thru. In case you can't guess, he LOVED shrimp. So since he died I keep seeing those shrimp in my freezer and thinking about how sad it was that I didn't get that bag to him when he could have enjoyed them. And I haven't been able to do more than move them around the freezer, they certainly have freezer burn (they aren't in my deep freeze). I debated giving them to my dogs to eat but I could do it. I kept thinking of my Dad and imagining him saying it was a horrible waste to feed good shrimp to the dogs, even if they probably aren't that good anymore. Not logical, but the shrimp remain, frozen indefinitely. Steve has offered to dispose of them and I said no. I don't know what I will do with the shrimp. I think I will know when the time is right, what to do with them, I mean besides the obvious.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Zen & the Art of Flyball Training

*Warning, this is about flyball, a weird dog sport, ignore if you are not a dog person!

I like flyball, I love training for flyball. So simple, yet sooo complex a sport. However I get a little too invested in things I can't control. So in an effort to stop bitching and achieve more balance in my life, I've adopted a Zen approach to flyball practice. I will not yell, except for my dog or emergencies. I will attempt to stop being bossy. I can not control things, so I must let go of my desire to manage & push practice forward. Ohhmmm. Ohhmmm. Repeat after me, patience is a virtue. It's not one I particular espouse though, so I'm trying to embrace patience!

This goes along with my general philosophy of flyball training, slower is better, at least as far as training goes. I think it's important to train the dog, not the just take the dog to the training. Looking at each dog's differences & making the training fit the dog's needs is important, and I'm not sure how to convey that importance to others. I love the tiny details that go into getting the most out of the dog, I love that I've been patient with Nikki & Betty. The clicker has worked phenomenally with both of them. Even when Betty was flaking out I figured if I just parsed down enough of the training & was patient she would come along nicely. With Nikki, the clicker helped shape a nice crisp turn & helped her know exactly what I wanted her to do. I'm really looking forward to the next tournament & hope I can actually get her running in the lineup. We'll see how her passing practice goes. And if not well she'll just keep improving and becoming more enlightened! I'm also anxiously patient to see if Betty's big advancements means we can start adding in more distractions for her.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Slow Down, You're Moving Too Fast!

I'm rushing, rushing, rushing to get the young dogs up & online for flyball & agility. And I have to remind myself to slow down & not push them too fast. Betty has a way of putting on her own brakes since she's not confident. Nikki's got excess much she'd like to have everyone hear about it and if you aren't careful she'll jump all over you & put confidence all over your face. I know especially with Jester & Bridget's agility training that in many areas we pushed too fast and now I deal with those consequences. So I'm giving kudos to myself (& Steve) for doing lots of extra work with Betty & to myself for holding Nikki back in her agility class. She got the go ahead to move outta beginner class, but I'm reminding myself to slow down, she's not ready for full sized contact equipment, she needs to learn to stop barking and just execute, and I'd like a rock solid stay on her before we advance. Plus I kind think sometimes it looks like she knows more just because I know a bit more than the average beginner student. Nikki did well at her first flyball fun match too, but again, I have to remember to slow down my very fast dog! So her first tournament will be run backs only, there I said it, I'm pacing ourselves!! I also still don't think she's solid enough to go head to head against another dog yet. I'd like to see her do more head to head w/o a barrier before I trust her. So much easier to tell someone else to not push their dog, than to listen to myself!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

JOY, in spice format.

I wish you could smell this spice. (try to scatch-n-sniff your screen) It is so fabulous. My friend's mom gave me a tin of this several years ago & I thought whoopdee doo, the only thing you do with paprika is sprinkle some on deviled eggs, for a dash of color. Except it smelled really good. Really, really good. Did I mention the friend's mom is a Cordon Bleu trained chef & taught me how to make souffle? Nonetheless, it sat in my cupboard for some time, as I finished off a tiny container of the dash of color paprika. I should have had more faith in her gifting abilities. So the first dish I put it in was a boneless pork rib recipe, I'd made it before and it was good, I really thought that the paprika in the recipe was just to add a dash of color & the cumin & chili pepper were doing all the work. This time it was phenomenal! The tin went from sitting in the cupboard, to my new favorite spice. I was adding this special paprika to everything I could think of, then tragedy...I realized I was almost out!!! I hoarded the last 1/4 of the tin. Now the gift giver lives in NYC and I knew she could get it easy. I combed the higher end grocery stores and couldn't find it, only the lame american color dash version. I had an awkward conversation with a store employee, who was like but we have paprika, right here. No, no, smoked spanish paprika! It's different! Then I turned to the internet and found success. But do I order just 1 tin? And there were 3 versions, hot, sweet and bittersweet. Who knew, what kind did I have, panic? Luckily, I had saved the tin, and figured out I had the sweet version. Available in a 4 pack, phew, that way I wouldn't run out!! Then foolishly I shared my stash, and ended up with only 2 tins for myself. Silly me. But at least I had a source. Now why is this so good? I mean essentially it's just bits of dried red pepper. Well apparently the spaniards do it old school, like hand smoking those peppers over only oak logs. In short if you sprinkled this on your deviled eggs, the eggs would thank you!
So why the ranting & raving about this precious, delicious spice. Well, seriously, it's that good. The alchemy it does when mixed with pork should be illegal. And today I got a new 4-pack in the mail. Oh JOY!, I love you.


So last weekend I attended an awards banquet for the dog obedience club I'm a member of. I hadn't bothered to send in my dogs awards for the year. Partially I was too lazy, partially it was during the fog of December, partially while proud of my dogs, I'm not that into titles. The ones that meant the most to me were Zoe's flyball ones, because they were so hard to earn during the first part of her flyball career. Not because she wasn't trying but because of the team we were on. For the rest of the dogs titles came easily, almost too easily. We'll see if Nikki & Betty challenge that trend! In any case I thought I'd post all my dogs titles in a fit of vanity.

Zoe 1996 - still kicking - Retired
HTD-1sg, RTD-c
NAC, OAC, NCC, NJC, OJC, TN-N, TG-N, TG-O, WV-N, Novice Versatility Award

Ruby 1998 - 2009

Jester 2001 - kicking

Bridget 2003 - kicking

Nikki 2009 - in training
Betty 2009 - in training

And so there they are, all the titles my dogs & I have earned. It represents a lot of time, training, sweat & frustration. It represents friendships, partnerships, and a whole lot of money spent on classes and trials. It's also a bit of a misrepresentation, since typically in flyball you only list the last title earned. But there they are in all their glory. Maybe next year I'll send them in and get them listed in a little booklet for the banquet. But I guess I don't see them as milestones, but as mile markers along the dogs too short journeys with me.

BTW, Jacci if you want me to post more you could at least sign up as a follower so I feel like someone's reading my blog :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Power Failure

I secretly dislike electricity, sure it's nice & all, but today the power was out for about 2 hours. I stayed home from work since I don't have a set schedule and Steve said the roads were treacherous. So I was checking emails, watching bad TV and then blip-blip no power, so no internet, not tv, no noise. It was rather peaceful, and since I had nothing much to do, I took a nice little nap. I was plenty warm w/ 3 dogs snuggled up with me on the couch. It was great, until Nikki brought me a toy and shoved it by my face. She was done napping. But the power outage was a nice chance to listen and to just be. Nothing was distracting me, I couldn't do the things on my to-do list!

The ice was pretty, but rain was puddling up in the ice/sleet in front of the garage, so I put on my rubber boots and went outside to make a path for the water to drain off. Then I was less than thrilled with the ice storm. Luckily the building wasn't flooding, but I prepped for the potential by pulling back some mats. Interesting day, hopefully Steve makes it home from work. In the meantime I get to entertain myself by watching the dogs scurry out of the house and then go skidding across the ice. That's just good fun!

Monday, January 18, 2010

A new year

Well my last year was not ideal, in fact I'll rate it as one of the worst I've had. Aside from my 2 failed attempts at becoming a student, (I shall content myself with 1 degree). My grandma died in February, and then my Dad died unexpectedly in November. September, October, and November seemed like just a fog of sadness. December was just foggy for me mentally. While I'm normally pretty sharp, I found things totally slipping off my mental radar, so if I let yah down, I apologize. I managed to hold up for the Holidays and focused on doing less to make my life a bit less complicated. Maybe I was just maximizing my minimized mental resources. It helped in any case. Now I'm treading water comfortably, and the water is less deep versus flailing around the deep end of the pool!
My good intentions for the next year are:
To focus more on my family & friends.
To train my dogs in a more efficent manner.
To not overextend myself, even though I'm really good at overextending!
To loose 10 lbs, at least.
To give up grudges, anxiety, guilt and all the shit I can't do anything about anyway.

Hum, that's plenty of things to work on right.